In McCray v. Jefferson Chevrolet Company, Inc., 2018 WL 1964674, at *2–3 (E.D.Mich., 2018), Judge Drain found that a Plaintiff’s testimony that the RISC was blank when she signed it created a triable issue of fact as to whether TILA disclosures were given.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1638(3)–(6), and (9) by not disclosing the amount financed, the finance charge, the annual percentage rate, the total of payments, the sale price, and the security interest. See Dkt. No. 1-2, pg. 14 (Pg. 20). Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1638(b) and Regulation Z, 12 CFR §§ 226.17 and 226.18, by not giving Plaintiff a copy of the disclosures in a form that she could keep prior to signing the RISC. Dkt. No. 19, pg. 7 (Pg. ID 500). Plaintiff’s deposition testimony asserts that the RISC that she signed was blank when she signed it, except for the rebate section. Dkt. No. 18-1 at pg. 11 (Pg. ID 424). Plaintiff’s deposition testimony also asserts that Defendant Dealer did not give her any paperwork to take home with her before she signed the RISC— Plaintiff only received her registration after she had signed the RISC. Id. Plaintiff cannot provide any corroborating evidence that the RISC was not filled out when she signed it besides her own testimony. Id. at pg. 20 (Pg. ID 433). Additionally, no other evidence in the record supports Plaintiff’s testimony. Defendant Dealer claims that it provided Plaintiff with all the required disclosures when she received a copy of the RISC when she bought the 2016 Traverse. Dkt. No. 14, pg. 23 (Pg. ID 154). On page two of the RISC, Plaintiff signed directly below a statement indicating that before she signed the contract, “[Defendant Dealer] gave it to [her], and [Plaintiff was] free to take it and review it.” Dkt. No. 14-3, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 189 The statement also read, “[y]ou confirm that you received a completely filled-in copy when you signed it.” Id. Defendants also provided the affidavit of Brian Tellier, General Manager of Jefferson Chevrolet. Mr. Tellier testified that it was impossible for the RISC to only have the rebate amount of $7,826.00 filled in when Plaintiff signed it. Dkt. No. 14-7, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 201). This is because the software that generates the purchase documents can never print an incomplete form. Id. The software also cannot print on a previously signed, partially filled-in document. Id. Therefore, Plaintiff’s testimony that the rebate amount of $7,826.00 was filled in on the contract necessarily requires that the entire RISC was filled in. Id. at pg. 4 (Pg. ID 202).Wilson Andrew Roberts, Plaintiff’s salesperson in the RISC transaction, also provided a statement. Mr. Roberts stated that Plaintiff “was provided a complete and filled-in copy of all the purchase documents for her review, including the…RISC.” Dkt. No. 14-9, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 207). Other circuits have considered what constitutes sufficient evidence of compliance with the TILA. The Eighth Circuit has held that an acknowledgement signed by the appellants that they received a fully completed copy of the disclosure statement was prima facie proof of delivery. Whitlock v. Midwest Acceptance Corp., 575 F.2d 652, 653 (8th Cir. 1978). . . In this case, Plaintiff also signed a disclosure statement stating that she had received a copy of the RISC, and that the RISC was completely filled in before she signed it. However, Plaintiff’s deposition did not acknowledge that Defendant Dealer had explained portions of the RISC to her as it presently appears. Plaintiff stated in her deposition that Mr. Roberts explained the deal to her, but it was a different deal than what the filled-in RISC currently looks like. Dkt. No. 18-1, pg. 11 (Pg. ID 424). . . .In summary, this Court will deny summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s TILA claim. Plaintiff’s deposition testimony asserts that Plaintiff signed a nearly blank RISC. Defendants provide testimony from Mr. Tellier and Mr. Roberts that the RISC was not blank when Plaintiff signed it. This conflicting testimony presents a genuine dispute of material fact that prevents summary judgment. The fact that Plaintiff signed an acknowledgement that stated the RISC was filled in and that she reviewed it before she signed is not sufficient to grant summary judgment, as analyzed above. Therefore, this Court will deny summary judgment on Plaintiff’s TILA claim.
The District Court found, however, that no fraud claim would lie.
However, even if the RISC was not filled in, Plaintiff’s reliance was still unreasonable. Reliance is not reasonable if the statements being relied upon are “preposterous or palpably false, if the truth was discoverable through minimal investigation, or if a party closes its eyes to the possibility of misrepresentation.” Peter A. Alces, Law of Fraudulent Transactions § 2:18 Elements of Fraud—Reasonable Reliance (2018) (citing Mass. Laborers’ Health & Welfare Fund v. Philip Morris, Inc., 62 F. Supp. 2d 236, 243 (D. Mass. (1999)). First, it was not reasonable for Plaintiff to believe that Defendant Dealer was accepting her 2004 Trailblazer as a trade-in. According to Plaintiff’s own testimony, she did not sign any documentation transferring the title of the vehicle. Dkt. No. 18-1, pg. 9 (Pg. ID 422). Plaintiff never received any documents indicating that she was trading in the Trailblazer. Id. Defendant Dealer never priced the Trailblazer, nor did it indicate how much credit Plaintiff would get for the trade-in. Id. As stated by Plaintiff, Defendant Dealer towed the Trailblazer to Plaintiff’s house for Gateway, Plaintiff’s lender, to pick up. Id. It is not reasonable to believe that Defendant Dealer would take possession of the Trailblazer as a trade-in if Gateway would be picking it up. In conclusion, the facts, as stated by Plaintiff, render it unreasonable for Plaintiff to believe that Defendant would be accepting her Trailblazer as a trade-in. Next, it was not reasonable for Plaintiff to believe that Defendant Dealer would be paying off the loan on Plaintiff’s 2004 Trailblazer. It was unreasonable for Plaintiff to believe that Defendant was accepting the Trailblazer as a trade-in. Therefore, Defendant would have no incentive to pay off the loan on the Trailblazer. Lastly, it was not reasonable for Plaintiff to believe that her monthly payments on the 2016 Traverse would be less than the monthly payments on the 2004 Trailblazer. Plaintiff stated that this payment structure did not seem strange to her because “you see things on television all the time where prices are knocked down . …” Dkt. No. 18-1, pg. 14 (Pg. ID 427). Plaintiff thought she was getting some type of special deal. Id. Plaintiff’s 2004 Trailblazer cost a total of $10,000 and Plaintiff believed that the 2016 Traverse cost $28,000. Id. at pg. 8–9 (Pg. ID 421– 22). It is not reasonable to believe a special deal would include lower monthly payments for a new car that is nearly three times the cost of an older car. In conclusion, the facts, as stated by Plaintiff, render it unreasonable for her to believe that payments on the 2016 Traverse would be less than payments on the 2004 Trailblazer. In summary, Plaintiff’s fraud/misrepresentation claim against Defendants fails because there was no reasonable reliance on Defendant Dealer’s alleged representations. Therefore, this Court will grant summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s fraud/misrepresentation claim.